I've learned to think on my feet better and I've gotten more comfortable interacting with the students, especially the K-4 students. Asking the classes questions and calling on people to answer really helped the students get involved and it helped me to get to know them better. I have gotten better at designing lessons in a tight time frame and working with other mentors to organize the materials and students. I drew upon my physics team experience to do a pendulum activity with the 3rd graders and to organize inertia and angular momentum demos with the 6th graders. The demonstrations themselves were relatively popular with the students, but the explanations of the concepts were a little dry. However, through my weeks of mentoring, I have become much better at explaining concepts to the kids in an engaging and fun manner.
As a mentor, I was able to integrate STEM concepts when the kids failed to pay attention by asking them guided questions toward the objective. For example, for an airplane activity, I would ask the kids what they could do to improve the design; then I asked them why. If they gave an answer, I would ask them related concepts such as lift and gravity to see if their reasoning is correct. Then, I would ask them to build another plane to test their reasoning. I was glad to see kids flocking to me when they found new ways to build the planes. As a person, I learned to empathize more. For example, there were kids who were under motivated, so I worked to encourage them to at least give another attempt at what they were building or improving. For example, an older kid was not able to concentrate on the egg drop project, and through encouragement (you might be closer to success than you think) and appealing to his dream (being a basketball star requires math too), I was able to guide him to completion of the project.
I learned that teaching students was much harder than I expected. We had to create a lesson plan because the planned curriculum didn't work due to limited materials. I've come to appreciate what an actual teacher does to plan out a regular class for their students on a daily basis. I also think that I've become more patient with children and helpful to not only students but to other people too.